Monday, August 27, 2012

The Bourne Identity (2002)

Seen: On hd-dvd on our projector set-up, from our surprisingly sizable hd-dvd collection.

All this talk of the new Bourne movie reminded me that, oh yeah, I'd never seen any of the others in the series. Always meant to, just never got around to it. Turns out we've had a copy of The Bourne Identity lying around for a while though as part of that big batch of hd-dvds we got with our player. So it was time. When a dude (Matt Damon) is found half-dead floating in the ocean, he has no memory of who he is or how he got there. He gradually pieces together his identity and isn't happy with what he finds out. A down-on-her-luck German woman (Franka Potente) is along for the ride as he escapes hired hitmen and the police while seeking out the truth about his past.

So I kind of had a general idea of Bourne's lost identity- that he's a secret agent/assassin-type for some secret government organization, and maybe he's genetically engineered or altered or something?- so hopefully I'm not spoiling that for other people when I talk about it. I figure it's kind of common knowledge, especially by now. But even with some knowledge of the mystery I still found the film quite compelling, it's less action-focused than I expected and really more about fleshing out this character. He doesn't want to accept that he is the kind of person he must be, despite all evidence that proves it. He can kill a person a dozen ways and he knows how to operate various weapons and he can scope out any area with a photographic memory of its exits, denizens, etc. He also has a ton of different passports and a LOT of cash in varying currencies. All of this is totally awesome but he's a bit wishy washy and seemingly DOESN'T want to be a badass cold-hearted killer. Pssh. I wish I had a wild secret past, jeez.

Anyway. This movie is pretty cool, overall. I liked the mystery, and the shady dealings of all the secret government people led by Chris Cooper and Brian Cox (including a tiny appearance by Walton Goggins! Oh my!), and the action sequences were quite exciting. Car chases through European cities are always great! I dug Franka Potente as the slightly addled but generally level-headed Marie, and she had strong enough chemistry with Damon that watching him give her a seemingly shitty (but later improved) haircut turns into something surprisingly sexy. I've never been that into Matt Damon, but he's convincing in the changeable role of Bourne, equal parts innocent confusion and deadly vengeance.

It's a little slow-moving, and all the parts don't quite come together, but overall I did find The Bourne Identity very enjoyable. Glad I caught up with it after ten years of missing out (sheesh). I want to check out the new one, and I guess I'll see the second and third entries eventually. Might take another decade, though.


Pair This Movie With: Well I have heard the sequel isn't very good but I guess that makes the most sense. I was reminded of Run, Lola, Run at times (and not just because of Franka Potente) so that'd be a nice thematic pairing.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely the slowest film of the bunch -- but a good film indeed.

    Glad you liked it.